Flipped learning has become one of the top trending topics in education today, and high school math teacher Stacey Roshan has risen as one of the technique's thought leaders on Twitter.
In 2012, Roshan was named a Teacher of the Future by the National Association of Independent Schools. Her fresh ideas to the flipped learning approach are regularly retweeted among the #K12 and #EdTech Twitter communities. Her blog Techie Musings was recently named one of EdTech: Focus on K–12’s Top 50 IT Blogs.
We spoke with Roshan recently about where she gets her ideas and how her Twitter career has skyrocketed.
EDTECH: K-12 is a huge arena. What sets your blog apart from others?
ROSHAN: I’ll be honest, I don’t really think of myself as a “blogger.” I started my blog as a way for me to reflect, keep track of goals, and to help me grow. As time went on, I threw in posts to share out ideas, answer questions that I saw swarming around on Twitter, and as a way to try and give back.
I have been so inspired by bloggers and my Twitter buddies, and of course, I wanted to try and encourage others in a similar way through my experiences. My blog is just very honest; I am not a polished writer, and writing does not come easiest to me (thankfully for all, I’m a math teacher!). But I love the opportunity to grow and share, and blogging (and Twitter) has definitely provided me this opportunity to connect in amazing ways.
EDTECH: What drew you to education, and what keeps you motivated?
ROSHAN: I started off in economic consulting, actually. I studied applied economics through grad school, so my love of math was always there, but I never thought I would be a teacher. But that’s not to say that, in my heart, I didn’t always want to be a teacher.
My mom is a math teacher, and I have loved teaching for as long as I can remember. I volunteer-tutored all through high school and then continued doing this in college and during summers. I wasn’t happy in economic consulting — and decided to follow my heart and move into teaching high school math. I adore having the chance to share my love of math on a daily basis.
The connections and relationships we have the chance to build as teachers are truly a unique opportunity and fulfilling beyond what I could have imagined. What keeps me motivated is the constant opportunities to grow, learn and share.
EDTECH: Your blog posts often focus on the power of flipped learning. Please talk about your interest in that specialty.
"I have found that the flipped classroom has reduced anxiety for students and given them the opportunity to dig deeper."
ROSHAN: I have flipped all of my math instruction — for my freshmen up to my seniors. For me, it started when I was teaching AP Calculus AB. The packed curriculum didn’t leave enough time for me to create the ideal classroom environment. Connecting to my students on an individual level is one of my top priorities. So in 2010, I decided to offload my lecture to video, for students to watch at home, to free up class time for the real work: discussions, collaborative problem-solving, one-on-one help, peer-to-peer tutoring.
I have found that the flipped classroom has reduced anxiety for students and given them the opportunity to dig deeper. It has provided a much calmer classroom environment, more conducive to curiosity since there is plenty of time for students to get their questions addressed within a class period. I definitely strive to share what I have learned through my blog, to inspire and share ideas.
I have seen so much success through the flipped model and have worked really hard to continually improve the model to best meet the needs of my students, so I try my best to get those thoughts out there!
EDTECH: Twitter was recently revealed to be dominated by education personalities. What is it about the platform that you think draws educators? And how have you grown your audience there?
ROSHAN: Twitter has probably been my No. 1 learning tool since I joined. It is an amazing resource. From following individuals to weekly chats, the learning never ends. Teachers, administrators, and ed tech companies on Twitter are so giving of their time and resources, it is truly inspirational. Twitter has allowed me to connect with teachers from around the world.
When I need help, I turn to Twitter. When I want to share, I turn to Twitter. It’s such a powerful network and a constant inspiration. I definitely thank Twitter for many of the opportunities that I have had.
EDTECH: What's one recent technological innovation you think educators take for granted?
ROSHAN: I think we take the ease of finding information for granted. With the Internet, so much knowledge is at our fingertips — for us and for our students. I think we often assume that students know how to navigate through the wealth of information that is out there. But teaching them how to be resourceful is one of our most important jobs.
Not all of the information out there is good — and we have to [teach] students how to curate the material they gather. To me, teaching students how to study, research, be resourceful and ask questions is as important as teaching my students the math.